Hello 2021 aka the Year of Jane Russell!
Year of Jane Russell Day 1
Happy New Year, my fellow film fans! Like the rest of you, I am bracing myself for the unknowns of the months ahead, desperately clinging to some hope that we’ll be leaving many of the current challenges behind. Amidst this anxiety-filled period of cautious optimism, I can offer one reliable constant – the Year of Jane Russell.
What does this mean? Well, June of 2021 will mark Jane Russell’s centennial AND the release of my JR biography Mean…Moody…Magnificent! Jane Russell and the Marketing of a Hollywood Legend. I don’t know if the book launch will be in person or virtual (or both), but I hope you’ll somehow be able to join me! Since June is a few months away, I’ll be celebrating in the meantime with a DAILY post of something JR from what has become a decent personal collection of memorabilia.
If you weren’t already aware, I am a Collector, something that seems to be in my DNA. These days I try to keep my collecting impulses contained to Ann Dvorak who has been my collecting passion for the last twenty-three years. The problem is, after two decades I’ve picked most of the stores and dealers clean, so I now have to rely on the occasional fabulous find on eBay (however someone popped last year who outbids me on pretty much everything. Just one more reason why 2020 was the worst.) When I started researching Jane, I have to fess up that I used it as an excuse to launch a mini collection that has ballooned into more than enough to share something every day for the entire year. You can look forward to posters, theatre programs, letters, recordings, and photos, photos, photos! I ended up using around ninety images in the book, but I have soooo many more and look forward to spending the year sharing them.
For those of you who followed me in 2013, when I did the Year of Ann Dvorak for that book’s release, this year will be scaled back to simple shares rather than full blown blog posts (I’m older and wiser now). Jane is so damn fabulous that her photos practically speak for themselves.
To get the year started, I thought I would spend some time with a collection of 8×10″ original negatives that a friend recently found at a flea market. The one at the top of this post, with Jane wearing the gold chain dress designed by Michael Woulfe for Macao is my favorite from the bunch. Had this collection of negatives landed in my hot little hands a few months earlier, this image might have been the cover. There are some Howard Hughes-fueled stories about this dress, but you’ll need to wait for the book, which can be pre-ordered from Larry Edmunds, the only place to get a signed copy AND a set of JR Gentlemen Prefer Blondes costume test postcards (while supplies last).